Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Gender Categorization and Identification: From the Roots to Society"

Universiteit Utrecht - Social & Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Miriam Hoffmann-Harnisch

Naomi Ellemers Promotor
FĂ©lice van Nunspeet Daily Supervisor

1 September 2017 - 31 August 2022

NWO/Dutch Science Foundation


Gender is categorised in modern Western society in a binary way: male and female. Feminist theorists have proposed that we move onto a gender spectrum instead. We will explore the underlying processes (innate or learnt) of binary gender categorisation in modern society. We will focus on two types of underlying processes regarding this: cognitive and motivational. We propose that binary gender categorisation is related to gender inequality and therefore can be discriminatory, which will also be explored. Prior research has studied lower and higher identifiers of gender. This project will build on this work, exploring whether the gender spectrum proposed by feminist theorists, as well as seeing gender as a fluid concept and relating this to having several social identities, can improve psychosocial well-being. This project is therefore aimed to inspire possible interventions to use in the field, to prevent gender inequality caused by binary categorisation. The development of these interventions will be started and tested in a lab-setting.

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